From July to October 2020, the Seabins Program managed by PortsToronto and the University of Toronto Trash Team diverted approximately 85,000 small pieces of human-generated debris from Lake Ontario. Most of the microplastics, which are smaller than five millimetres (3/16th of an inch) were gathered by the Seabin marine trash skimmers installed at the port. The larger macroplastics gathered by the team included clear plastic packaging, hard plastic fragments from takeout food containers, as well as cigarette butts.
Last season’s research by the Trash Team discovered the advantages of vegetation in debris collection as it helps to capture microplastics. The vegetation caught up in the Seabins actually had pre-production plastic pellets and other microplastics attached to it that might otherwise have slipped through the Seabin’s capture bag. The discovery is important inasmuch as the collected vegetation could otherwise be considered a mere time-wasting nuisance.
Read the full 2020 results.
Image from PortsToronto Website